I read with interest stories on the web about the Federal District Judge in Montana. The Judge admits he forwarded a ‘joke’ email with racial overtones, from his official email address to his buddies and his home.
Now, the Judge has made a judicial misconduct complaint about himself.
I don’t hear anyone making any real claim that the emails are private (apparently the Judge started to claim he intended the email to be private, but now acknowledges that coming from his official email address, he should apologize and report himself). Indeed, the entire discussion of the emails, the forwarding, the misconduct complaint – everything, is public.
The fact that the Judge reported himself, says to me, that he thinks the disciplinary processe will go easier for him if he self reports. Maybe it was his idea, maybe the idea came from a trusted advisor. But he wouldn’t be worried about self-reporting, it seems, unless he feared discipline.
What would it look like in Minneosta, if judges who misbehaved feared discipline?
What would it look like if Minnesota state court judges feared that inappropriate emails sent or forwarded from their official email accounts could get them into trouble?
Do you know of any Minnesota judges who should be reporting themselves?
Judges, whether appointed or elected, are public officials. The media interest in this particular Montana Judge’s story shows that Americans want public discussion of these topics.
Some people are calling for the federal judge to resign. Whether losing his public post is appropriate or not, it sure seems the American public is fed up with inappropriate judicial conduct and they are speaking out.